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Author Archives: Jeff Bergstrom

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Bergstrom is chief information officer of John J. Lothian & Co. He edits MarketsWiki and JLN Options.

JLN Financials: How Fragile are Emerging Markets?; Why Germany Isn’t a Fan of ‘Whatever It Takes’; EU Banks’ Debt Addiction Threatens ECB-Led Overhaul Standard

First Impressions Monster Volumes: Jon Najarian Says Weeklys Are Powering Options Volumes JohnLothianNews.com US options volume reached its second highest level in 2013 but can it continue to grow in 2014? Jon Najarian, co-founder of OptionMONSTER said the key drivers for the options industry are: weekly options, a strong economic recovery and continued demand for more options education. “The two biggest things driving volumes in options, or at least holding them, are weekly options,” said Najarian, who is also a regular contributor on the markets for CNBC. “As we get more weekly options, there is more turnover because of course…

JLN Options: Lehman Brothers Maybe Sold Warren Buffett a Rainbow; Twitter’s Big Drop Means Big Profits for Some Options Traders; Small-Cap Bears at Highest Since ’12 on Selloff: Options Standard

Observations and Insights Options – A Must Have in Every Advisers’ ToolboxCatherine Clay – Livevol, CEO Yesterday, I wrote about the increase in option volumes from “Mom and Pop” traders. Today I want to note the increased trading volumes originating from independent option advisers. Before 2004, many advisers did not trade options, saying they were too expensive and complex. But recently, especially after 2008, adviser use has grown tremendously, spurred on by a greater understanding of options, lower transaction costs, tighter bid/ask spreads, and increased ease of execution.   Risk management, however, seems to be the primary driver for most…

JLN Financials: How 2014’s upbeat story turned into a scary thriller; The Many Ways to Pull Off a TARP; Don’t Forget About the Debt Ceiling Standard

First Impressions Uncoordinated: Why the world economy struggles Jim Kharouf – John Lothian News It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Last November, I interviewed former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown about the state of the global economy and efforts he undertook during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. Among the goals set by Brown and others who made up the G-20 meeting in April 2009 were simply these: prevent a global depression, – check, implement global regulatory reforms – check for the most part and a growth pact among the leading economies – unchecked. Hey, two out of…

JLN Options: The Rise of the VIX ETP; Plunging Stocks Push Volatility to Biggest January Gain: Options; BATS, No. 2 in stocks, considers second U.S. options exchange -CEO Standard

Observations and Insights The Rise of the VIX ETPCatherine Clay – Livevol, CEO As the VIX heads toward the 20 mark, it is fitting to wish a Happy Birthday to two VIX ETPs: VXX and VXZ. These five-year-old volatility products made their debut in January 2009, and have generated a tremendous amount of investor attention and interest. As most JLN readers know, the VXX and VXZ provide exposure to equity market volatility through the CBOE VIX futures. VXX offers volatility exposure to a daily rolling long position in the first- and second-month VIX futures, while the VXZ focuses on the…

JLN Financials: Narrowing Treasury spreads indicate fading growth expectations; BofA Said to Cut Bonuses for Rates Traders at Least 15%; A eurozone bond need not be a freeloaders’ charter Standard

First Impressions Home Run: Don Davis Talks About Peer-to-Peer Investments JohnLothianNews.com The US financial crisis has wreaked havoc for the past several years on the mortgage lending business, not to mention many homeowners and debtors. It also has created opportunities for innovative firms that are looking for new ways to help homeowners and make a nice return at the same time. Don Davis, president of Novus Investments sat down with Jim Kharouf, editor-in-chief of John Lothian News, to talk about how his firm is profiting from the ongoing fallout from the mortgage crisis and the rise of peer-to-peer lending, at…

JLN Options: What Skews Tell Us; Large Speculators’ Raise Bullish Gold Positions, At Highest Since Early Nov – CFTC Data; A Lesson Learned from the VIX Options Pits Standard

Observations and Insights What Skews Tell UsCatherine Clay – Livevol, CEO EDITOR’S NOTE: We are pleased to have Catherine Clay, CEO of Livevol, as guest editor of JLN Options all this week.  We welcome her opinions and information and look forward to her insights the rest of the week. It is a genuine pleasure to be guest editing the John Lothian newsletter. I’m not sure how many West Coasters get this opportunity, and I am honored. The timing of my engagement is also fortunate. Rather than be the editor when the markets are in a slow, steady rise and the…

JLN Financials: Emerging Markets’ Victimhood Narrative; Fed to emerging markets: ‘Our currency, your problem’ – for now; Credit-Default Swap Market Shrinks by Half Standard

First Impressions Open for Business: Tech Drives the Transition to SEFs JohnLothianNews.com The Swap Execution Facility was given life by the Dodd-Frank Act. After three years of meetings, rule proposals comments, and more meetings, the final SEF rules were published by the CFTC in mid-2013 and trading has commenced on 18 registered SEFs. John Lothian News attended SEFCON IV and interviewed a dozen of the leading SEF operators, regulators and other participants to bring you this three part series on SEF regulation, the changing market structure and the new technology required to make it all happen. Part three of the…

JLN Options: SEC Approves BATS-Direct Edge Merger; Why Tapering May Be Bad For Emerging Markets; Weekly Market Commentary 1.31.14 Standard

Observations and Insights Exercising the right to evolve – CME FX optionsCraig LeVeille, CME Group (Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the “Euromoney FX and Treasury Management Handbook 2014” and is reprinted with permission.) There has been no shortage of major market influences and central bank actions affecting the FX markets in 2013. Abenomics was one key driving force for the rise in Japanese yen trading, and the continuance of quantitative easing (QE) in the US has made hedgers and speculators realise that currency risk can no longer be an afterthought. Emerging market currencies like the Brazilian real, Indian…

JLN Financials: Why Uncle Sam needs some novel sweeteners for its bonds; Bernanke Secret Sauce Drops Fed Rate as QE Quantified: Economy; Abe Doomsday Risk Prompts Moody’s Warning on JGBs: Japan Credit Standard

First Impressions Exercising the right to evolve – CME FX options Craig LeVeille, CME Group (Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the “Euromoney FX and Treasury Management Handbook 2014” and is reprinted with permission.) There has been no shortage of major market influences and central bank actions affecting the FX markets in 2013. Abenomics was one key driving force for the rise in Japanese yen trading, and the continuance of quantitative easing (QE) in the US has made hedgers and speculators realise that currency risk can no longer be an afterthought. Emerging market currencies like the Brazilian real, Indian…